What's the best 4x4 to tow a camper trailer?

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 11:14
ThreadID: 106296 Views:3338 Replies:16 FollowUps:2
This Thread has been Archived
Hi. We are looking at buying a 4x4 to tow a camper trailer and wanted to know what the best option would be? The camper will be about 1 tonne when loaded.

Our budget is around $16K. We have been looking at:

Outlander
Xtrail
Vitara
Prado

Are any of the above good options to tow a camper on sand ie. on Fraser Island?

Would love a RAV4 but have heard this won't cope on sand with a camper.

Cheers.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Chris_K - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 11:32

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 11:32
Hi Anthea

Just about any SUV without a low range transfer case and some clearance will struggle on the beach while towing. While you see lots of this type of vehicle on the beach, in soft sand, they can struggle - even without towing. So I'd rule out the Outlander as well as the Xtrail, if you want to tow.

If you want to be comfortable towing, the Prado would be my first choice followed by the Vitara. You can get some quite good later model Pajero's as well, so maybe have a look at one of those?

Cheers

Chris



AnswerID: 526717

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 11:54

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 11:54
My choice would be the Prado, being a Cruiser person.

The good thing about the Prado is that if you decide to update the camper to something larger then you are covered given the Prado's larger tow capacity.

The rest in your list are pretty much toys really, not really good tow vehicles IMHO. But then I am biased toward Landcruisers anyway.

The brother has a Vitara and while it is OK, it is not in the same class of motor vehicle as the Prado. Go the Prado. Pretty sure you won't be sorry provided you get a good one, but then that applies to any vehicle you buy.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 526718

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 13:57

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 13:57
Hi Anthea,

I agree with others above, especially re low-range transmission.
Long ago I did take an early model Subaru towing a light-weight camper trailer to Fraser Island without too much trouble, but it did have low-range. In fact I took that Suby to all sorts of places that later acquired wisdom said I should not.

There is no doubt that the Prado is a very capable vehicle. I see them all over the place Out Back, many towing trailers. An advantage that the Prado has over my Troopy is that it is a comfortable vehicle for town use also.

Good luck with the search.

Cheers
Allan

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 526726

Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 14:52

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 14:52
Hi Allan

A little off-topic (maybe) but I also took a Subaru Outback to Fraser Island - not towing anything. People were amazed at the places that the little Suby could go! There were plenty of "heart in mouth" times, broken front spoiler once, bent nudge bars, and we always went with someone else. We were rescued more times than I can remember by our travelling companions...still, all good fun!

Chris
0
FollowupID: 809063

Reply By: garrycol - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 14:00

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 14:00
Easy question - any Landrover Product will so the job.
AnswerID: 526727

Reply By: Krooznalong - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 14:15

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 14:15
Based on the criteria listed - Prado.
AnswerID: 526729

Reply By: splits - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 15:22

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 15:22
Anthea

When you decide which one looks the best, it might not be a bad idea to call the manufacturer's customer information number and discuss it with them. I called Toyota with general questions on towing with my Hilux 4x4 and was told NOT to tow at all on soft dry sand.
AnswerID: 526731

Reply By: Member - evaredy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 15:57

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 15:57
You have not mentioned dual cab utes.

As others have mentioned, I would not be looking at towing a CT in the sand with a soft roader

Another thing to look at is how much the vehicle can legally carry and also how much weight it can tow when loaded, you may want to upgrade later on.

Fuel economy is another thing i would take into consideration.

As well as how the vehicle has been looked after, if it's kitted out with a few things, chances are it has done a lot of off road work.
AnswerID: 526732

Reply By: Rangiephil - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 16:24

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 16:24
I just had a look on carsales and as I expected nearly all the under $17000 Prados are either the first series(skinny ones) which are 13-14 years old or the 120 series with usually well over 200,000Kms.

What I would suggest is that if you want to tow on sand that unless you are mechanically able , it would be unwise to tow on sand with a 200K plus vehicle unless you are VERY sure that the engine transmission and cooling system are in 100% excellent shape.

Many older cars are not adequately serviced and even a full service history does not guarantee lack of problems in such old cars , although Toyotas are more reliable than most.
If you buy a really old Prado if I were you I would do a trial by towing up a more accessible beach on soft sand before you go to Fraser Island. I recall I bought an FJ40 once and got about 100 metres on Stradbroike Island before it overheated, not towing.LOL

Having said that,if you take notice of the tides most of your towing could be on hard sand super highway with the only soft bits on and off the Barge. I would avoid towing into say Central station as the track can be very soft and when you are unable to reverse on a soft track it can annoy all and sundry. But there is always the possibility that you will be forced to slog along atr high tide and that is where you need everything to be perfect.
So my advice is buy the lowest mileage 4X4 you can and do a trial in sand, and it wouldn't hurt to join a 4wheel drive club and do sand driver training. That may mean a less popular and therefore expensive 4X4 than a Prado, say a Pajero, Discovery 2, Nissan Pathfinder,Mitsu challenger, or whatever.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 526735

Reply By: Member - Wyknot (Qld) - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 17:55

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 17:55
have you thought about a Jeep Grand Cherokee 2002/2005 with the 2.7 M/Benz motor and gearbox. It has high/low range a 3.5 tonne towing capacity and is in your price range.very good engine.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 526746

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 08:58

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 08:58
I have one and it will do the job without any trouble what so ever AND economically AND in great comfort. Be careful though as the motor's only problem is the "black death". Injector seals that are in effect 50 cent copper washers may fail at around 180k and it can be an expensive fix because the motor has to be dropped to get to cylinders 4 and 5.
0
FollowupID: 809133

Reply By: Jenko - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 18:02

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 18:02
Prado, And there is lots of after market accessories available as well. BTW I a Toyota fan.
Cheers, Geoff
AnswerID: 526747

Reply By: Member - Craig F (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 20:24

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 20:24
May need to clarify your question.
I would not tow 1t off road with any of these cars. Have towed 900kg with my 4.2TDi GU on soft sand and it got a work out. Rocky paths would also put allot of strain on the car.
On road and gravel not a problem with the Prado and Xtrail based on my experience. Using a Prado to tow a fuel trailer (1.5t on mine sites) and Wife having an Xtrail

cheers
AnswerID: 526754

Reply By: Member - Mark C (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 21:54

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 21:54
Agree with needing low range and towing on soft inland tracks. Very hard work and low range a necessity. For that money the prado will be nearly out of service and mega kilometers. The GQ patrol, Challenger, disco 2, 80 series or pajero are all a little cheaper and capable.
Have towed on beaches for years and on hard low tide a piece of cake but get tides wrong and either going to kingfisher on Fraser or across the island on a hot dry sand on moreton you will need the grunt and correct tyre pressure on car and camper (18-20 on car and 16-18 on camper).
Good luck and practice without camper first with a 4WD club.
Mark And Helen QLD
Living the Dream

Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 526767

Reply By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 23:11

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 at 23:11
The RAV is a fabulous bitumen road tourer and an excelent fast dirt road car...and they will do some lightish off road work........on hard sand they go like a stabbed rat........and they do have a 1.5 tonne tow rating...but they are not an off road vehicle.
The handbrake is on her second....they are extrordinary.......but tow a trailer off road.....um... no.

My niece has an xtrial......the wheels are smaller than the rav and the ground clearance is much of a muchness...still not an off road vehicle.

A couple of friends of mine towed a camper trailer all over Australia with a Grand Vitara... A credible off road vehicle....not like they "did the simmo" or anything but they did take it off road a fair bit.

The thing is you have to select your vehicle and your trailer...if you where to tow a camper off road with a Vitara...better make it a light one.

The whole caravan/camper trailer thing has a BIG problem......the sellers push buyers into the biggest thing they can and the buyers realy want to hear this.

So we end up with unnecessarily heavy camper trailers.....some of the early off road camper trailers came in under the 750Kg fully loaded......but we are seeing armour plated off road trailers with giant canvas gin palaces screwed to em comming in way over the tonne...some pushing the 2 tonnes

Seriously...think about the weight...dragging a full tonne arround in the sand realy takes a bit of doing.

I know a bloke who takes a family of four camping on frazer with An early Sieara (about the size of a jimni)...as you may gather by the time you get 4 in a Siera, there's is not room for much.....so he tows a trailer...a light one and they travel light.

most of the camper industry have missed the point in my opinion...the whole point of a camper trailer is to be light and fast to set up.

Serioulsy keep ya weight down and likewise keep the cost of your tow vehicle and fuel down.

cheers
AnswerID: 526770

Reply By: Anthea V - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 14:49

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 14:49
Fantastic, thank you all very much for your advice.

Very useful for first time camping/4WDing!
AnswerID: 526802

Reply By: Ali Ree - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 17:26

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 17:26
When you decide which one looks the best, it might not be a bad idea to call the manufacturer's customer information number and discuss it with them. I called Toyota with general questions on towing with my Hilux 4x4 and was told NOT to tow at all on soft dry sand.
AnswerID: 526810

Reply By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 20:12

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 20:12
You could get a nice diesel Pajero with around 200k on the clock. They are a relatively underrated car, cheaper than a Prado and have a more powerful motor.

I will give you a tip. I belong to a club that has a lot of all wheel drives. Most new owners enter the club with all wheel drives like Subarus, XTrails or Rav4's. Most of the older owners have proper 4wd's, either dual cab utes or Patrols, Land Cruisers, Prados, Pajeros etc. They all upgraded their all wheel drives because they didn't do the job well enough. If you start 4wding an all wheeler like an XTrail then things will start to fall off. Don't get me wrong, the all wheelers a good cars but they can't take the punishment of a lot of off road trips for any length of time. Towing a camper on sand is hard work, you will ruin something on your car pretty quickly if the car isn't built to take it. Cheers.
AnswerID: 526825

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)